You could say this week’s show was about all about sales.
Our first guest, New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, joined us by phone from “the bullpen,” the open-space offices located on the second floor of City Hall – to talk about selling Mayor Bloomberg’s vision of a healthier, XL soda-free New York. He detailed the “tick tock” of the decision to market the proposal, from it’s infancy of an idea in at the New York City Health Department to the current polling which runs about 50/50, a constituency split on the proposal. Wolfson also weighs the difference between the media in New York and Washington and his days as the highest-ranking Democratic strategist ever to serve as a Fox News Channel contributor.
Wolfson served as co-chief strategist and communications chief for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential bid, was an insightful and entertaining guest. I had never met Howard, but am a big fan of his Twitter feed that mixes city politics, soccer, fantasy baseball, music and his other eclectic tastes. Talking to him, he was nothing like nothing like New York magazine’s description from a few years ago that he “looks like the guy most likely to head-butt you in a bar fight.”
That's Johndroe and me on the balcony at Putin's summer retreat in Sochi, Russia in April 2008. He is clearly working harder than me.
I am pretty sure my former White House colleague Gordon Johndroe, our second guest, has never been in a bar fight. But the former Deputy Press Secretary under President George W. Bush always knew when to sell reporters on national security policy and when to keep quiet. With the Justice Department looking into alleged leaks of classified information to the media, Johndroe offered his views on leaks – authorized and otherwise – and the fine line journalists must walk when deciding to go public with classified information. He also remembered the personal guidance he got from a White House reporter after briefing for the first time and discussed the polioptics of Presidential visits with foreign leaders.
And for the finale of Episode 60 we went to Bloomberg Businessweek national correspondent Joshua Green, whose cover story this week, “Obama’s CEO: Jim Messina Has a President to Sell,”is a must read for anyone interested in communications or politics. Green “geeked out” with Josh and me when discussing the “snowflake model” of organizing information and the way the campaign’s use of digital, mobile and social media channels is revolutionizing campaign communications and making the candidate less dependent on traditional media. It also doesn’t hurt when your adviser on storytelling is Stephen Spielberg.
And a hearty thanks to Josh King for once again inviting me to be his guest wingman on Polioptics.